A Letter from the Chief Residents

Each year, hundreds of prospective candidates participate in the Neurology match. While few have predefined career goals, the vast majority rely on their experience during residency to guide decisions regarding what fellowship track or practice environment to pursue. A program that provides broad exposure forms a strong keystone for any resident’s career. In that regard, MCW has an exceptionally strong representation of many neurological subspecialties with several faculty members who are esteemed in their respective fields. The subspecialties represented in our program include:

  • Interventional Neurology (Endovascular Surgical Neuroradiology)
  • Neurointensive Care
  • Comprehensive Epilepsy Program
  • Comprehensive Stroke Program
  • Neuro-Oncology
  • Neuro-Ophthalmology
  • Neurophysiology
  • Sleep
  • Headache
  • Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology
  • Neurology Neuromuscular Disorders and a dedicated comprehensive ALS clinic
  • Comprehensive Parkinson's and Movement Disorders program, including DBS Surgery
  • Spine Care
  • Autonomic Disorders

Among our assets are a busy Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, a closed Neurological Intensive Care Unit staffed by neurocritical care boarded neurointensivists, state-of-the-art Neuroangiography suites, a Neurophysiology lab with an Autonomics laboratory, Comprehensive Stroke Center certification and Pediatric Neurology at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin which serves as the tertiary referral for most of Wisconsin and northern Illinois and boasts nationally renowned Pediatric Neurologists and Epileptologists.

Another advantage of our categorical program is being assigned a weekly Neurology Resident Continuity Clinic as a PGY-1 start managing neurology patients while also building relationships with faculty and co-residents. This allows exposure to outpatient neurology during internship and fosters relationships with the Neurology faculty, staff, and residents; this facilitates a more seamless transition from the preliminary year to neurology. Each resident truly is the primary neurologist for his or her continuity clinic patients, and the completion of the Continuity Clinic in the PGY 3 year is often a bittersweet transition of care to the incoming residency class. This, however, allows PGY 4 Residents a VA continuity clinic with increased autonomy and an opportunity to serve our veterans.

Our team is led by residency program director Dr. Chad Carlson and associate program director Dr. Fallon Schloemer. Jackie Davies is our invaluable, patient, warm, and ever-present program coordinator who helps us along every step of our training. We also work very closely with the pediatric neurology department to care for both children and adults. There is almost always a pediatric neurology fellow rotating with the adult services and an adult neurology resident rotating with the pediatric neurologists. Geneticists will often come from Children’s hospital to help in the evaluation of late-onset or late-diagnosed metabolic diseases. Neuromuscular sub-specialists from adult neurology will perform EMGs at Children’s hospital.

We work closely with all members of the health care team. In the outpatient setting, each resident is assigned a clinic nurse who helps us manage issues that arise with our clinic patients. For the inpatient setting, we pre-round every morning with the inpatient floor and NICU social workers, Advanced Practice Providers, nurses, therapists, pharmacists, and dietitians.

We also have protected didactic sessions which were previously daily conferences but have since been transitioned to a weekly Academic Half-Day model with the goal of preventing clinical duties from interfering with didactic time. A three year curriculum plan is outlined around this series to cover the full breadth of Neurology and provide a framework for more in-depth study during the course of training. We have a plethora of subspecialty conferences including weekly meetings for epilepsy (multidisciplinary treatment planning attended by neurology and neurosurgery), neuro-oncology (multidisciplinary treatment planning attended by neurology, neurosurgery, neuroradiology, and neuro-pathology), neuro-intervention (pre- and post- intervention cases presented, attended by neurology and neurosurgery), neuromuscular/pathology (attended by neurology, pediatric neurology, and pathology), neuro-ICU morbidity and mortality, and movement disorders. We have weekly Neurology Grand Rounds Friday mornings at 8 a.m., as well as quarterly resident run lecture series based on the AAN continuing education publication Continuum. These are supervised by an attending specializing in the field covered who helps lead discussion about the concepts in the article reviewed.

Time and again, current and former residents have mentioned resident camaraderie as one of the main reasons for choosing our program. In recent years, our alumni have done everything from going into private practice, continuing in academic neurology, as well as pursuing any number of Neurology fellowships either at MCW or at other prestigious programs. In line with this we cannot forget to mention our graduating class leaving in June 2017. Drs Chris Southwood and Amrita Lakraj served as previous Chief Residents and were invaluable in keeping the program running smoothly. Drs Jigar Mankad, Harrison Pearl and Pat Bauer complete the cohort and were all leaders by example, great colleagues and even better friends to us all and will be sorely missed (except Pat because we convinced him to stay). Dr Southwood will be pursuing a Neurovascular fellowship at Stanford before returning to MCW for Neuro-Intervention and Neuro Critical Care training. Dr Lakraj is pursuing fellowship training in Neuro-Ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. Dr Pearl is leaving for Atlanta to complete a Neurovascular fellowship at Emory while Dr Bauer is staying with us at MCW for further training in Epilepsy. Dr Mankad is leaving to work as a staff Neurologist in Springfield Illinois.

Last but not least, Milwaukee is a wonderful city, known for its ethnic communities, amazing waterfront, innumerable summer activities, and sports. You are never too far from a Bucks (basketball), Brewers (baseball), or Packers (football) fan or from tailgating at Miller Park! We have many wonderful festivals along Lake Michigan’s waterfront, among the most famous being, Summerfest, the largest outdoor music festival in the world. Summerfest has seen the likes of Outkast, The Wailers, Pearl Jam, Bon Jovi, Keith Urban, Kenney Chesney, Metallica, The Roots, Jay-Z, Kanye, LL Cool J and Sting. Milwaukee has the resources of a big city and yet the warmth of a small town. You can easily live in a vibrant downtown neighborhood, a cozy suburban community or the countryside and still be within a short commute to work.

We hope you will consider us as you embark on the next stage of your careers and we look forward to meeting you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email us.


John Cox (jocox@mcw.edu)
Dave Shirilla (dshirilla@mcw.edu)

John Cox, Chief ResidentJohn Cox

I am originally from Montréal, Canada, I was born and raised there until I left home at 16 to attend Upper Canada College where I completed the International Baccalaureate Diploma program. I then did my undergraduate studies at McMaster University earning a BSc focusing on Biology and Psychology. I attended Ross University for medical school where I developed an interest in Neuroscience and ultimately in Acute Care Neurology, Neuro-Critical Care and Neuro-Intervention. I moved to Milwaukee for residency with the goal of pursuing training in this direction and have not looked back.

Milwaukee is a great town with lots to do. From sports teams to a great food scene, bars, nature trails for hiking and biking, music festivals and more, there is always something to do no matter the time of year. If you want that big city vibe, we are a short drive or train ride from Chicago. We also have a fantastic group of residents who work hard together and support each other without question and find time to hang out during off-hours. I think this is the key to any good program as you spend more time with your colleagues than anyone else and we have been tremendously lucky in this regard. Following this year, I will be staying at MCW completing a combined Neuro-Critical Care and Neuro-Intervention fellowship.

David Shirilla, Chief ResidentDavid Shirilla

I am originally from Northeast Ohio and lived there until moving to Erie, PA for college. There I earned a degree in Biology at a small Division II school, Gannon University. I stayed/survived Erie winters for another 4 years (what can I say, I’m a glutton for punishment) while attending Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, graduating in 2013. During this time, I cultivated a passion for both the comprehensive diagnostic and caretaking approach of internal medicine, but could not ignore my fondness for the intricacies of the nervous system. In accordance with these interests I pursued a combined residency at Medical College of Wisconsin in both Neurology and Internal Medicine (once again, glutton for punishment). As I now enter my fifth and final year of training, I have never been more satisfied with my decision to pursue training at this wonderful institution. And while I remain friends with my Internal Medicine colleagues, Neurology has become my true home. It will also serve as the basis for my future endeavors as I transition into a career in academic Neuromuscular Medicine.

When I am not in the EMG lab playing with sharp objects and electricity, you can find me alongside my fantastic co-residents cracking jokes in and out of the hospital. While a large bulk of our residents come from outside the North Central US (Canada, New York, Ohio, Missouri, Alabama, to name a few), we have adopted Milwaukee as a second, (and in my case) future home. Southeastern Wisconsin has the perfect balance of all the big-city amenities like touring theater productions, professional basketball/baseball/football, and diverse restaurants. However, it also has a laid-back, smaller-scale Midwestern charm. The metropolitan area is also small enough that one can find themselves in tranquil, wooded lakeside communities less than 30 minutes outside the city. The summers are perfect and the winters make a great excuse to try snowmobiling, skiing, and even ice fishing. If you are seeking an environment that will challenge you diagnostically as a neurologist, while surrounding you with colleagues with which to build lasting friendships, we are excited to welcome you our program.